After Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) emerged victorious in this year's assembly elections in West Bengal, the main opposition party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has been seeing major defections. At least four MLAs of the party have joined the Trinamool in four months.
Earlier in June, Mukul Roy, who joined the BJP with much fanfare, returned to Trinamool Congress. Roy had been one of the core team members of the TMC; and was one of the senior leaders and a Rajya Sabha MP when he joined the BJP in November 2017.
Yesterday, BJP saw another big defection when former Union Minister and two-time BJP MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo joined the Trinamool Congress. Supriyo was elected to the Lok Sabha from Asansol in 2014 and 2019. Supriyo reportedly visited the office of party general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and joined the ruling party.
Supriyo lost the 2021 Assembly poll from Tollyganj on the BJP ticket. Supriyo had to resign as Union Minister of State during the Cabinet reshuffle in July. The same month he announced on social media that he would resign as MP and stay away from active politics. He later said he would continue as MP.
After joining the Trinamool, Supriyo told journalists that a “great opportunity” has been extended to him by the party leadership and he has decided to take it up.
“It was with great disillusionment that I had announced that I will quit politics. A great opportunity has been extended by Didi [Mamata Banerjee] and Abhishek Banerjee and I am happy to accept that,” he was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Supriyo has been expressing discontent towards the BJP leadership for quite some time now, saying he was not given enough responsibility. “I was expecting something more after seven years as a Union Minister of State. Then differences started growing with the party,” he said.
Speculation is rife in political circles that Mr. Supriyo may be nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the Trinamool as replacement for Arpita Ghosh who had quit the Upper House on Wednesday.
The defection comes weeks before the Bhabanipur bypoll where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is contesting. Banerjee lost to BJP's Suvendu Adhikari from the Nandigram seat.
Interestingly, the BJP had nominated Supriyo among the star campaigners for the seat. He said that he was open to campaigning for Mamata Banerjee if given the responsibility. “Mamata Banerjee needs no campaign but if the party considers me, I will be happy to campaign in Bhabanipur,” he said.
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